Anomalies From the Rooftop

Theology from Anomalies. One story a day from the world of Christianity that is just a little off-beat. Sometimes, in shouting the good news from the rooftop, Christians do some strange things.

Sunday, August 06, 2006

African Bible Commentary

The recent publication in Africa of the African Bible Commentary has warranted coverage by some major media outlets over the last month. It is sad that such undertakings have been rare enough to warrant such substantial coverage. Indeed, such a work is anomalous in the history of Africa, but very exciting.

According to The Voice, a Botswanian newspaper:
A new 1,600-page book has been released that provides explanations of verses from all 66 books of the Bible, using local proverbs and idioms to make the teachings relevant to most Africans while remaining true to the scriptures.
The use of these "local proverbs and idioms" also reported by SABC, indicates one of the major differences between African Christianity and Western Christianity. For us in the West, Christianity has so shaped our culture over the past 2000 years that we use Christian proverbs and idioms to interpret local culture, rather than vice versa as in the case of the African Bible Commentary.

According to Malcolm McGregor, international director for Serving in Mission, an organization that participated in the compilation of the commentary, “This publication is not only for Africa, it is also for others to read what this new voice of Christianity has to say at this unique time in world history—a time when belief is at the center of even political dialogues."

Indeed, as the center of global Christianity moves ever southward, perhaps the people who really need to read this commentary live in the Northern Hemisphere. It's only $25.19 on

Update: I'd missed this when I orginally posted, but it seems that the Catholic Church (at least in Kenya) has rejected the African Bible Commentary as incompatible with Catholic Chruch teaching. Cited reasons include the commentary's position on homosexuality, women in the ministry, marriage/divorce, and the relationship between church and state.


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